Library receives challange grant

MANCHESTER - The Manchester Community Library's capital campaign just got a major boost. On Wednesday, the library announced a $1 million donation from the James and Irene Hunter Charitable Fund. Betsy Bleakie, executive director of the library said the donation will feature a up to $500,000 matching challenge, where donations will be matched dollar for dollar. Overall, the total donation will amount to $1.5 million.

In a press release, Susie Hunter said her family chose to support the library because of the tremendous amount of planning involved in the new building.

"The new Manchester Community Library has precisely the broad community benefit that our parents always supported," she said. "We hope that our fund's challenge will bring the remaining donors to the table in a meaningful way."

Bleakie said this donation is a huge vote of confidence in the library. The community meeting room will be named after the family.

"It is a multi-use room that will be used for both library programs and also for use by the community," she said. "We will be able to host business, even a small, intimate wedding."

Christine Miles, chair of the capital campaign said a challenge like this one will help spark interest in giving to the library. Because gifts will be matched dollar for dollar, Miles said to think of gifts as double; $50 becomes $100.

"For the library, this is terrific, it shows we have the donor support," she said. "This is an opportunity for the community to make a meaningful difference."

The community aspect of the new library has been stressed all along and Linda McKeever, president of the library board said this new building will be a transformational project for the community.

"The new Manchester Community Library is being funded through private dollars from individuals, families, and foundations which is why the Hunter Family Challenge is such a tremendous boost for our project," she said.


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